January 27, 2015 – Last night the LASD trustees voted 3 to 2 to add two new members to the Measure N Citizens Oversight Committee (COC). After several rounds of discussion, the votes were 3 to 2 to add Matt Pear in order to give Mountain View some representation and to add John Swan in order to give the BCS community some representation.
COC Audits whereas Construction Committee Decides
Trustee Tamara Logan was opposed to expanding the size of the committee from 7 to 9, but at first was sympathetic to giving representation to Mountain View and BCS. So she explored in discussion whether selectees – like Craig Jones and Jessica Speiser – might not prefer to drop out of the COC and instead apply to the soon to be established decision-making “construction committee.” The COC was portrayed by Superintendent Randy Kenyon as “audit-only,” meeting only quarterly, and probably not having its first meeting for many months. Logan reported that the lawyer at the earlier closed board session had clarified that COC members must be “independent” and could NOT ALSO be on the “construction committee.”
Trustee Vladamir Ivanovich said he wanted selectee Craig Jones to remain on the COC precisely because of his construction experience, even though that background would obviously well qualify him for the “construction committee.” He said that Jones would be able to tell which patterns of construction expenses were not normal. Randy Kenyon gave a nod to Ivanovich’s assessment. Ivanovich went on to say that he was opposed to all the unselected applicants because they were focused on a “single issue.” LALAHPOLITICO: We take Ivanovich to mean he thought they focused only on BCS… or focused only on preventing use of eminent domain … AND they did not really care about the future of the District and the institution of public schools. He said such people may hijack issues and even hijack meetings. Pretty harsh judgment!
Blame Game for Lateness?
Superintendent for Business Randy Kenyon seemed to blame the Los Altos Senior Commission and the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce for the LATE application paperwork for selectees Deborah Hope (senior organization) and Sam Harding (business organization). (By law, 5 of the minimum 7 members have to meet certain organizational affiliation requirements.) See our post here about the “lateness” kerfuffle.
3 Trustees Amend Staff Recommendation
Correction: Jan. 27, 2015 Lalahpolitico reviewed our audio recording of this item and Pablo Luther was actually the first trustee to float support for Matt Pear, the only Mountain View applicant and to float support for any one of the BCS applicants.
Trustee Sangeeth Peruri was first [correction: second] to voice support for adding a BCS person to the COC. He mentioned that all the previous facilities committees since 2013 had had at least once BCS person as a member. Also he reminded everyone of the BCS endorsement of Measure N. His first choice was Buffy Poon, of the BCS PTA. At this point the trustees reminded themselves that committees generally have an odd number of members to avoid tie votes.
Trustees Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther saw no problem in expanding the COC from the minimum 7 persons to 9 members. Luther mentioned that these committees often experience 50% attendance rates. Thus it was better to form larger committees rather than minimum committees, so that business could be conducted.
Fairly quickly support emerged for adding Matt Pear of Mountain View as a ninth member. However, the three trustees who were willing to expand the committee from 7 to 9 had mixed preferences for which of the 3 BCS persons to select as an eighth member. The three trustees settled on applicant John Swan, who was Steve Taglio’s BCS preference.
Logan and Ivanovich voted NO on the motion to expand the committee from 7 to 9. Those two both voted No to the separate motions to approve Matt Pear and No to approve John Swan. Logan explained that by her calculations current BCS parents and alumni BCS parents are only 6% of the total population living within the geographic boundaries of the District. She argued that each District school – Springer, Santa Rita, Oak, etc. – was not getting a representative on the COC, so why should the charter school get a representative? [Lalahpolitico has calculated that BCS students constitute over 1/7 th of total District student enrollment.]
It was heart-warming for Lalahpolitico to see a non-unamimous board decision. The vote of 3 to 2 made the Los Altos School District Measure N Committee inclusive of BCS and Mountain View. That is good news!
The public learned there will be yet another Los Altos School District Measure N Committee – a construction committee.
Get ready to fill out those Measure N “construction committee” applications folks. I hope that this round that the deadline for applications is made explicit and the recruitment is well-publicized.
Lalahpolitico has a good quality audiotape of the board’s COC deliberations/voting blow by blow… and to promote transparency, we will endeavor to post it eventually.